Why did Jesus change the name of only three of his apostles?


“He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.” Mark 3:16-19

 I am questioning why did Jesus change the name of only three of the twelve men he chose for his apostles? That seems bias that he would choose only three to give a new name to. Did he change their names because he expected them to be greater men then the rest? Was it because of the lineages? Another way to analyze the changing of their names may be that, they were so tarnished they had to be changed because of their reputations. The verse that is in Mark 9:2 “And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up to a high mountain by themselves.” reveals that he had favoritism toward the three men over the rest. If he really did think so much of the three men, why would he include one that would later deny him? “Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” And Jesus said to him, Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times””(Mark 14:29-30). Jesus obviously favored these three men. There are numerous accounts throughout Mark where he and the trio are secluded from the others. What was so special about these men over the others?Image


If someone’s name is changed by someone else, that person is then owned by the person who changed it. “So, think about how Peter and the other disciples heard and understood what Jesus was indirectly claiming through the changing of Simon’s name to “Peter.” Jesus believed that he had the same right to reassign a person’s name—and therefore a person’s life calling and destiny” (Cunningham). As Brent Cunningham expressed it the changing of the names represented Jesus’ ownership of them. This could be a good possibility for the changing of the names.



R. J. Krejcir describes one of the disciples as, “The unnamed Disciple, John is the other one of the two, brother of James, who describes himself as the beloved Disciple, or the Disciple whom Jesus loved. He was the writer of this Gospel, three Epistles, and Revelation (John 21:20-24). Known as the Son of Thunder, he seemed to be quick in judging others (Luke 9:49, 54). Jesus called to him from the cross with His last few words, telling him to care for His mother (John 13:23; 19: 26-27). He was among the first to see the Resurrection (John 20: 2-8; 21:7)” (Krejcir). The way that John describes himself as the one that Jesus loved, lets us know that he was favored over some, or so he thought. I wonder how the other disciples felt over this favoritism.  



 “Says that he appointed 12, designating them (naming them) apostles .And then he actually gave names to some of the apostles themselves. Simon he gave the name Peter—Rock. James and John, gave the name Boanerges, Sons of Thunder. This was a very strange thing to do. What did it mean?  Why was it important? The primary way Jesus works, primary way he changes people is by giving them a new name. By new name, mean a new identity, a new destiny. He changes the trajectory of your life He worked that way with the 12 Apostles, works that way in the lives of all of his people”(notes). The choice of changing only three disciple’s name was a way that Jesus showed ownership. He also did it to show that he could change anything or anyone if people believed in him. The steadfast faith in Jesus that the three men showed could have been the primary reason they were chosen over the others.



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